These same homes and houses, these same streets where many years ago Jews spent every moment fighting for survival, are today inhabited by new residents. Before World War II, Baluty was a feared crime-ridden neighbourhood. Immediately after occupying Poland, the Nazis established a Jewish ghetto here, which housed 200,000 Jews waiting for their death. After the autumn of 1941, they were joined by Jews from five Czech transports. Life in the poor, working-class district of the industrial town of Lodz is marked by poverty, alcohol and unemployment. Baluty then and Baluty now have much in common. Images from the past and present of this stigmatised place are brought together by interviews with the area’s original and current inhabitants and reporter Henryk Ross’s unique photographs from the distant past.
On their way to Lodz, director Pavel Štingl and cinematographer Míra Janek ran into photographer Karel Cudlín, whose photographs created during filming make up this accompanying exhibit. By screening the film together with the exhibition, we have created a unique project in which Cudlín’s contemporary photographs hold up a mirror to Ross’s wartime images used in the film.
Director: Pavel Štingl
Screenplay: Pavel Štingl
2008, feature documentary, 83 min